Daily Archives: August 15, 2006

Coffee Snob

Sweat is pouring off my forehead and dripping onto my keyboard as I
type this.  The fans are on, the windows are open and the air still is
not moving. An ice cold container of Starbucks brand cafe latte is
sitting on the table before me and I will not drink it.

Sometime in the past few years I have become, much to my own surprise and chagrin, a coffee snob.  Yes, it is true, and, though I am ashamed to admit it, I believe that admission of the problem is the first step to correction.

You see, I was not always this way.  Hey, I even lived in Seattle, WA for two years and never drank more than the occasional cup, and that always at the behest of others.  I was what they call a social  coffee drinker, there more for the company and conversation than for any of the beverages sold at such establishments as Starbucks or Tully’s or even that beautiful, bohmeian locale known as the Cafe Lladro, in the heights of the yuppie hill on Queen Anne Ave.

It was a hangover, naturally that started my downward spiral.

I had been in Japan for just a few months and was in a nasty habit of drinking a lot.  One bitterly cold January day, after a particularly nasty binge where I ended up in Tokyo with a bunch of people I barely knew, someone pressed a hot cup into my hand and I drank.  I immediately began to feel better and soon I was drinking one coffee a week, then one before a morning shift, and on and on.

By the time I was in a trainer position at my company I was sneaking off to Starbucks at least once, if not twice a day.  One occasion, when my boss was leaving everything up to me without giving me the resources to accomplish anything, I surprised both the barristas and myself by going no less than four seperate times over the course of a single workday.

Eventually, I began experimenting with other, stronger coffees:  Jamaican blue and Kilamanjaro white.  I began preparing it in different styles – one day Vietnamese, the next Brazillian.

Soon it reached the point where I would not drink coffee at home unless it was made from freshly ground beans purchased for two pints of yakk milk gathered under the light of a full moon in September.  The preparation became something of a ritual in and of itself.  The grinding, the steaming, the percolating.  Ah, the percolating.

(All through this ordeal, you must understand, I still maintained appearances and affectionate relationships with the Starbucks staff.  I used their cafes as meeting houses and rest stops, planning centers and gathering spaces.  I drank their “coffee”.  But all the while, in the warm safety of my own mind, I maintained the belief that I was not drinking coffe, but, in fact, a milk based beverage, with a mild coffee flavour.  In this way, all were satisfied.)

Things finally came to a head yesterday afternoon.  I was at my mother-in-law’s house and her sister had brought and prepared coffee.  Inferior, freeze-dried coffee from a south Pacific plantation island, imported at outrageous prices to Tokyo and shipped up here.  I had a decision to make, insult my wife’s aunt, and her generosity or drink the coffee.

Though my stomach recoiled in fear and my tongue shrank in my mouth, I drank the coffee.

It was not half bad.

technorati tags:,

Blogged with Flock

Leave a comment

Filed under Left From Seattle, True Thoughts on True Life

QotD: Check the Mailbox!

What magazines do you subscribe to, and why?

Hmm.  Subscribe to?  None.  However, if we re-phrase the question to "What magazines do you make a point of picking up each and every single issue?", well, here's the list:

JPG:  Jpg is photography by the people, for the people.  They are a small magazine that sells via website and print-on-demand publisher lulu.com.  The photos are submitted by hobbyists and enthusiastic photographers all over the world.  The editors choose from the photos to suit a given theme for each issue and, voila, you have a very well put together record of some of the coolest images you will ever see.

Escape Pod:  EP is a bit different.  It is not a magazine, per se, it is a podcast that puts out four pieces of short SF fiction a month, with the occasional very short piece or review to keep the variety.  It is exemplary in its selection of fiction that will entertain within thirty minutes or less and, more importantly, will leave you with something to think about.

National Geographic:  Do I really need to explain this?  Natl. Geo. has been a leader in photography and travel writing for about a century now.  If you have not read an issue since high school, now is the time to go pick up and issue and re-learn why learning is fun.

Fantasy and Science Fiction:  Just what it says:  A magazine for fantasy and science fiction stories.  They are one of the oldest and one of the best.  Easily the best four dollars I spend every month.

Escape Artist:  Ok, I am cheating a bit on this one, as Escape Artist is a website, not a magazine, but they do have a great newsletter that is pretty much a must read if you are an ex-pat from the States, as I am.  They offer advice, stories good and bad, recommendations and how-tos.  Like I said, a must read for any ex-pats out there.

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Leave a comment

Filed under 51841